Sustainable cocoa farming – the supplier response: Cargill & Barry Callebaut

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27 Sep 2017 --- As environmental groups, media organizations and of course the all-important consumer pays closer attention to the issue of cocoa farming, where the ingredients for chocolate come from and exactly how cocoa is sourced, the issue is in the spotlight right now. FoodIngredientsFirst investigates cocoa sourcing across the industry. You can read the first part of this report here

Cargill LBC
Cargill’s cocoa & chocolate business established its own licensed buying company (LBC) recently following the successful application for a license from the Ghanaian Cocoa Board (Cocobod). The new LBC is fully operational and Cargill has already purchased its first consignment of beans directly from cocoa farmers in Ghana, with around 30,000 farmers already registered with the LBC. 

By directly sourcing the beans, the company says it’s able to diversify the way it sources sustainable beans and rolls out the Cargill Cocoa Promise more effectively to better serve its customers.

“Direct sourcing of certified beans from farmers via our own LBC in Ghana is an exciting new business model for us,” says Lionel Soulard, Managing Director West-Africa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate: “Cocoa sustainability is at the heart of our global growth strategy for cocoa and chocolate. Developing a direct sourcing capability in the world’s second-largest cocoa producing country means we will be better placed to meet growing demand for sustainable, certified cocoa.”

“We are confident that this business model will add value at every level particularly for farmers who, as a result of working directly with us, will make a better living out of cocoa farming, and we are really proud of this development.”

Cargill has been operating a cocoa processing plant in Ghana since 2008. The move to direct sourcing of cocoa via its 60 strong teams in the country reflects the company’s commitment to growing the business in Ghana. It is also claimed to enable a more direct approach to supporting more productive, profitable and sustainable farms.

Read more about this here

Barry Callebaut 
Barry Callebaut has the vision to be the leader in innovation, implementation and impact in cocoa sustainability globally.

“Cocoa sustainability is firmly embedded in our business strategy. We are expanding our activities on the ground and aligning with our industry peers in order to improve yields and livelihoods,” says the company.

“Sustainable cocoa is one of the four pillars of Barry Callebaut’s corporate strategy, alongside expansion, innovation, and cost leadership.” 

Barry Callebaut believes that cocoa production is sustainable when farmers earn an equitable income, engage in responsible labor practices, safeguard the environment and can provide for the basic health and education needs and well-being of their families.

In terms of traceability, the company says that understanding from which area and farmer it is sourcing from, is the key parameter in assessing the quality of yields and production methods. 

“In addition, it also allows us to tackle sustainability challenges such as deforestation and child labor in the cocoa supply chain in a much more targeted manner.”

Project Katchilè
Barry Callebaut recently started to roll out a farm data management system called project Katchilè, across 65,000 farmers in the Ivory Coast. This cloud-based data management system allows the company to be in contact with farmers in near real-time, offering an unprecedented level of transparency in the sourcing of cocoa beans. In the coming years, this tool will be extended across Ghana, Tanzania and Indonesia.

“Working with cocoa farmer cooperatives: Barry Callebaut’s cocoa sustainability team includes trainers, ecologists, agronomists, geographers, controllers, and auditors. In Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, the team works with 92 cooperatives, representing 77,700 cocoa farmers, to implement cocoa sustainability programs. This allows farmers to produce beans that can be sold under a sustainability scheme, which brings them a financial premium,” adds Barry Callebaut. 

“In parallel, the Biolands Group is Barry Callebaut’s direct sourcing enterprise for sustainable cocoa. The Biolands Group works directly with 45,000 farmers and village coordinators to provide training, inputs such as fertilizers, support, and assistance in the production of certified cocoa.”

Barry Callebaut also responds to customer requests for sustainable cocoa products by offering cocoa products both from certified sources (mainly UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance) and from its own Cocoa Horizons Program.

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